On Fox News' Happening Now, Newt Gingrich echoed a common distortion employed by opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act, claiming that it "tak[es] away your right to a secret-ballot vote before being forced to join a union." In fact, the legislation does not eliminate employees' rights to a secret ballot; as The New York Times reported, "Business groups have attacked the legislation because it would take away employers' right to insist on holding a secret-ballot election to determine whether workers favored unionization."
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On the January 19 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, Fox News contributor and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) claimed that President-elect Barack Obama is "going to be for the labor unions taking away your right to a secret-ballot vote before being forced to join a union." Gingrich was referring to Obama's support for the Employee Free Choice Act, and his comments echoed a common distortion employed by opponents of the legislation. As The New York Times reported, "Business groups have attacked the legislation because it would take away employers' right to insist on holding a secret-ballot election to determine whether workers favored unionization" [emphasis added]. Supporters of the legislation say employers often use the election process to delay, obstruct, and intimidate workers in an effort to resist organizing efforts.
As Media Matters for America has noted, the House Committee on Education and Labor has described the claim that "[t]he Employee Free Choice Act abolishes the National Labor Relations Board's 'secret ballot' election process" as a "myth," and stated on its website: "The Employee Free Choice Act would make that choice -- whether to use the NLRB election process or majority sign-up -- a majority choice of the employees, not the employer."
From the January 19 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
JON SCOTT (anchor): Yeah, I am surprised to hear some of what you said. I mean, you're a conservative Republican. He takes office as a Democrat -- and at least in the Senate, his record, a very liberal Democrat. And yet you like a lot of the things that you've seen him do thus far.
GINGRICH: Well, I'm -- look, I'm very impressed with the discipline, the intelligence, and the general capabilities that President-elect Obama has brought both to the campaign and to the transition. Clearly, I think the first practical test will come starting on Wednesday with Tim Geithner's nomination to be secretary of the Treasury, because as people learn more about Geithner's failure to pay Social Security tax and Medicare tax and his claiming a child-care tax credit that he wasn't eligible for, that nomination may become sort of the one sore spot in the near future.
And then when you get into more details later on, clearly Obama -- Senator -- or President Obama, is going to appoint liberals to the courts. He's going to be for the labor unions taking away your right to a secret-ballot vote before being forced to join a union. He's going to be for higher taxes. So there will be places where there are strong, principled disagreements. But in terms of style and tone, and in terms of meeting with people and reaching out, he has been more centrist to date than anyone could have expected, based on his Senate record or based on the campaign.